Oxford Emory College humanities receive grant from Mellon Foundation

COVINGTON — A group of student leaders at Oxford College is ready to help continue a program that in its inaugural year has already had an important impact on leadership education at Oxford.

These students, who are all participants in the Tarbutton Leadership Fellows Program, will be part of the next selection process by nominating a prospective applicant and helping select the next group of Tarbutton Leadership Fellows.

In spring 2018, alumnus Hugh Tarbutton Jr. presented a gift to the college to establish the TLF in memory of his father, Hugh Tarbutton Sr.

After a nomination from a faculty or staff member in fall 2018, followed by an application process, five first-year students were selected to develop and participate in summer leadership experiences as part of the inaugural group of fellows.

“We’re looking for the best fit, looking at each student individually,” said Valerie Molyneaux, associate dean for academic affairs and administrative coordinator of the program.

The TLF cultivates and supports a diverse and highly talented group of student leaders by providing financial, programmatic and mentoring resources to help them craft meaningful leadership experiences in the summer after their first year at Oxford, according to program coordinator Donald Beaudette, assistant professor of political science.

Last year, five students – Jamie Constantine, Ehren Fernández, Kylett Jones, Odudu Mbaba and Eden Medina – were selected from the pool of applicants. With the help of a grant, exclusive workshops and mentoring, the students developed summer experiences aimed at helping them develop professional experience related to leadership.

While many of the students traveled for their experiences, Mbaba stayed closer to campus. She interned at Helping Hands Community Clinic in Conyers, which serves uninsured and underinsured patients in the area.

“I helped physicians and other health care professionals by taking vital signs, updating charts and generally organizing paperwork,” said Mbaba, a Houston, Texas, native studying neuroscience and behavioral biology and anthropology. “My goals for this summer were to serve the community, develop my social skills, gain medical exposure, and engage in public health practices.”

Mbaba continues to volunteer with the nearby organization, while also being a resident assistant, treasurer of the African-Caribbean Student Union and the Black Student Alliance, and secretary of the Mu Epsilon Delta (MED) Club at Oxford.

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